BOC approves new contract for ambulance service at $400K
Grady EMS/South Georgia EMS will receive an additional $50,000 to provide emergency medical services in Pierce County this year.
The county voted to renew the contract at its regular meeting last week. Grady/South Georgia EMS will be paid $400,000 for the services this year, up from $350,000 in 2019, the first year of the contract.
Grady/South Georgia EMS made the request for the pay increase based on what it describes as “low call volume” in Pierce County.
Grady/South Georgia EMS said it based its bid last year on a call volume of 2,500-3,000 calls per year, when it contends that the county only logs 1,900-2,400 calls per year.
County Chairman Neal Bennett, County Manager Jason Rubenbauer and 911 operators and staff all met with representatives of Grady/South Georgia EMS to resolve the call volume issue and hammer out details of the contract extension.
Rubenbauer pointed out the county’s 911 system logs all calls and noted the 2,500-3,000 call figure is accurate based on that system.
“Grady/South Georgia EMS logs calls a different way,” said Rubenbauer.
The manager explained that while 911 may log five or six calls for a single traffic accident or two or three calls for a medical emergency at a residence, Grady/South Georgia EMS counts that as one call since it concerns the same case/individual.
“When you take that into account, our call volume is about 600-700 calls lower than we initially reported,” Rubenbauer said.
Fourth district commissioner David Lowman said he would vote to approve the increase, but asked Rubenbauer to tell Grady/South Georgia EMS that he expected the EMS service to reimburse the county for each call they miss because they are understaffed or do not have an ambulance in the county and have to call in mutual aid.
Rubenbauer told Lowman he would pass his concern on to Grady/South Georgia EMS.
In a housekeeping item, the commission also voted to convert the Grady/South Georgia EMS contract into a calendar year contract.
The contract was first approved in April 2019 and as it stands currently, it runs from April to April. Rubenbauer asked for and the commissioners approved making the contract effective from January-December to match the county’s budget year.
Grady/South Georgia EMS will begin the second year of a five year contract in April.
Grady/South Georgia EMS is a non-profit EMS affiliated with the 120 year old Grady Hospital in Atlanta.
Other terms of the contract will remain the same.
Grady will provide the service and do the billing for the new $400,000 contract amount. Pierce County will retain its ambulances, its EMS license and its facilities in both Blackshear and Patterson. Both stations will remain open under Grady’s direction.
The county has the option to extend the contract each year and can terminate it at any time.